Members of the Boys & Girls Club of Venice recently won the first-place prize for an anti-bullying campaign in a national service competition sponsored by Boys & Girls Clubs of America and the Staples Foundation.

The service project called Linking Hearts & Hands recognizes children helping children through outstanding community service initiatives.

The $2,500 award went to members of the group’s Torch Club, a program for youth ages 11 to 13 within Boys & Girls Clubs designed to build character and leadership skills. The Venice club’s anti-bullying campaign was selected out of nearly 250 entries from around the world.

To celebrate, the club will host a special event to honor its members for their leadership and service to the community, club Executive Director Erikk Aldridge said.

The Torch Club’s STOP (Stop Teasing Other People) campaign involved activities such as making candy grams with special encouraging messages to help victims who feel alone and establishing an anti-violence gaming policy in the club’s tech lab.

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